Monday, September 24, 2007

DeVane Mounts Defense of his CNS Spectrums Article

Lindsay DeVane, the Medical University of South Carolina professor who had described this article in CNS Spectrums as "commercial crap," is now defending said crap from its detractors.

Possibly responding to this
letter just published in Psychiatric News, in which Harvard psychiatrist Alan Stone advocates officially "shaming" unethical colleagues who participate in ghost-writing, Dr. DeVane sent me the following e-mail:

"Dear Dr. Carlat, I am writing to say there should be no doubt about the integrity of the CNS Spectrums publication as an i3 CME certified activity. In particular, my unflattering characterizations of the CNS Spectrums article reflect the inherent limitations in providing practicing clinicians with fundamental descriptions of complicated issues. The initial draft of the article that was eventually published was written directly from the transcripts of the live CME televised broadcast last December and was not ghost-written. All three co-authors were heavily involved in multiple edits before agreement was reached on a final manuscript. Although my opinion is that antidepressant drug-drug interactions of major clinical significance are rare events, we all know that interactions can occur and the need for such awareness was a theme in the broadcast and article. My Neuropsychopharmacology commentary allowed a more complete discussion of some scientific issues, but there should be no question about the integrity of the CNS Spectrums publication as a CME activity. Lindsay DeVane."

I can only assume that Dr. DeVane must have been severely pressured by multiple parties to change his tune. You can read his earlier, and very different take, on the article in my prior posting
here. At that time, Dr. DeVane called the first draft of the article a “ridicuous text… parts of it were inaccurate, simplistic, and [contained] over-generalizations.” The fact that he is now saying that this article was "written directly from transcripts of the live CME televised broadcast" is not exactly an endorsement of that Hawaiian event, which was funded by Bristol-Myers Squibb.

And although he is now saying that "all three co-authors were heavily involved in multiple edits before agreement was reached on a final manuscript," in his earlier letter, he stated,
"I haven't even read the CNS piece, but from what you say, I probably shouldn't as it's likely embarassing. Please ignore it for purposes of interpreting my researchand views."

By the way, the founder of CNS Spectrums, James LaRossa, who knows all the players involved in this scandal quite well (in fact, he now publishes a different journal with both Nemeroff and DeVane on the masthead), said of the CNS Spectrums piece,
"I am willing to bet dollars to doughnuts that Nemeroff never saw proofs of the article either."

As La Rossa commented further, "In truth, the CME business has become rotten to the core." I couldn't agree more.


Stephany said...

THIS is why I nominated your blog for the "thinking blogger award".
It will take me a few days to stop saying "Aloha" Nemeroff; then finally become coherent enough to link to this post.

Anonymous said...

how about some more posts!

Daniel Carlat, M.D. said...

Are ya kiddin' me? I'm trying to keep up with my once a week schedule! I'll do my best.